A civil defamation lawsuit was filed Nov. 13 in Roseau County District Court by Warroad girls’ head hockey coach David Marvin against a group of six people he alleges made false statements about him in an effort to damage his reputation.
The lawsuit states a set of parents (six individuals in all) made baseless allegations, wild accusations and false statements about Marvin in order to damage his reputation within the Warroad community.
The lawsuit states that despite the success of the program (Warroad has won back-to-back Class A state titles), the Defendants “repeatedly leveled false accusations of criminal activity, sexual harassment, and abuse against Marvin and have invited and encouraged others to do the same.”
Marvin is in his 18th season as head coach of the Warroad girls program and has led them to 13 state tournament appearances and four state titles.
The lawsuit alleges: “For months Defendants have conducted a campaign to harm Marvin’s reputation and have him removed as a coach for the Warroad Girls Hockey Team. Among other things, Defendants have made reports about Marvin to the Warroad High School administration, including the athletic department. The school investigated those allegations and later renewed Marvin’s coach contract. Unsatisfied, Defendants then moved their campaign to social media and continued to harm Marvin’s reputation.”
The lawsuit points to an open letter published by the group of individuals. The lawsuit alleges: “The October 30 Letter falsely accused Marvin of “sexually harassing comments and public urination in front of minor players” and “Sexual Harassment – Minn. Stat. § 609.749,” as well as “Intentional infliction of emotional distress” and “Hazing under Minn. Stat. § 135A.155,” among other things.”
The letter was published on social media and sent to other media outlets, the lawsuit contends, including Sports Illustrated which the lawsuit alleges published the “false statements.”
The Warroad School District said in a social media post on Nov. 3 that they addressed the situation.
“The concerns raised by some individuals regarding the Warroad Girls Hockey program have already been addressed. We recognize that some may not be satisfied, but ISD #690 is looking forward and prepared for a positive and exciting season as we support all our Warriors!”
The district had cleared Marvin of any wrongdoing after an internal investigation last spring, although a suspension was handed down to an assistant coach who did violate school policy.
The lawsuit requests a civil jury trial and seeks $50,000 in damages and includes a clause that prohibits any further defamatory statements made by the defendants.